Date: August 31, 2022 | Story: Tiffany Adams | Photography: Rett Peek | Styling: Lauren Cerrato |
Space reconfiguration and color infusion result in an attractive, livable hub for a pair of Little Rock empty nesters
With their kids grown and out on their own, this Little Rock couple was ready to downsize. After finding a home in a gated POA community, Realtor Brandy Harp recommended calling designer Heather Krijt to update its look, maximize the common spaces, and make them function at peak for everyday use as well as when their children and grandchildren visit.
“The capacity to entertain and allow a crowd to congregate in the kitchen—since it’s where everyone goes anyway—was at the top of the list,” Heather says of the renovation’s goals. To do this, she used square footage from a former galley-style kitchen and adjoining dining room to create a larger kitchen and breakfast nook. “The barrel arches were really a jumping off point for the design,” she says. While both entrances to the kitchen feature the architectural element, one has an additional function by housing dual walk-in pantries on each side.
Along with seating for five at the island, the nearby breakfast nook can accommodate up to six people comfortably, giving the couple plenty of room to host. Heather also checked boxes on their wish list for two sinks, double ovens, and a large range. Additionally, a laundry and wet bar area adjacent to the kitchen were transformed into a butler’s pantry and larger bar with a service window to the living room, creating a continuous flow from one room to the other.
As for the aesthetic, Heather took inspiration from the couple’s New England roots and natural bend toward traditional style. “They were drawn to blue and white and an all-American look,” she says. “There’s also an almost nautical, Northeastern sensibility to the design,” she adds, pointing to the breakfast nook’s light fixture that is reminiscent of a ship’s helm. An English hand-blocked fabric became the textile of choice for not only window treatments but also the barstools, where it was used in a laminated application for maximum durability. The designer also brought in pattern through a Persian rug that previously lived in another space at their former home. Large-scale subway tile with a handmade look was laid in a herringbone pattern on the backsplash, giving interest without competing with the prominent blue cabinetry, while a mix of brass and polished nickel finishes add to the design’s classic appeal.
Heather traded floral wallpaper for a white backdrop and café curtain in the breakfast nook. The couple can pull more chairs around the contemporary-style table when hosting a crowd.
“They were drawn to blue and white and an all-American look. There’s also an almost nautical, Northeastern sensibility to the design.” —Heather Krijt, designer
Heather prefers to hang open shelving—rather than cabinets—to create an open, airy feel. “You probably won’t see me design a kitchen with upper cabinetry, but I do like to use cabinets that come all the way to the countertop. It’s a little more polished, like a piece of furniture,” she says.
Set the Bar
Formerly a small wet bar and laundry, Heather relocated the latter and opened up a wall to the living room to create a service ledge. An abundance of counter space as well as wine racks and shelving concealed by polished nickel wire mesh make the area as practical as it is pretty.
Contractor River Rock Builders Interior design Heather Krijt, HK Designs Appliances Metro Appliances & More Cabinetry Kimberly Cabinets Countertops Countertop World and Pacific Shore Stones Fabrics, furniture, hardware, lighting, and wallpaper HK Designs Fixtures Southern Pipe & Supply Painting Melvin’s Painting Tile ProSource of Little Rock Upholstery Brockinton Upholstery Windows River Rock Builders Window coverings Interior Creations